Monks’ Boycott Committee Urges Senior Monks to Oppose Junta

Sittwe:A boycott committee of monks in Sittwe issued a statement and distributed it among Sittwe monasteries urging senior monks to oppose the military junta in accordance with Buddhist law, said U Saw Hla Kyaw from a human rights organization based in Sittwe.

“The statement was distributed among the monasteries in Sittwe last week and it is intended for some senior monks who are cooperating with the junta authority in favor of opportunities from the government,” he said.

In Sittwe, a few senior monks are close associates of the junta authorities and have received favors from them in the form of cement, timber, robes, tin, and cash, as well as monk titles awarded by the junta annually.

“The authority understands how to mobilize senior monks in Sittwe. So the authority mobilized senior monks by giving favors to monks to support the military government,” Mr. Saw said.

Because of this, a few senior monks in Sittwe have refused entry of youth to study as monks in their monasteries in hopes of further favors from the junta authority.

According to a local source, some monks in Sittwe provided information to the authorities when they saw younger monks’ anti-junta plans and activities.

A monk from Sittwe said, “The authorities know of our plans against the junta before they are carried out because some senior monks here informed the authorities about our activities. So think the statement was likely issued by the monks’ boycott committee with the aim of stopping such senior monks’ actions.”

In the distributed statement, the monks’ committee stated that they are all Buddhist monks and should follow the Buddha’s instructions and counsel, not the junta’s. “If we are following the instruction of the military junta, we are not the son of Buddha, we become the son of junta,” the letter further stated.

The committee further stated that they had sacrificed their lives for their religion, but the junta was now cracking down on their religion with weapons, so monks need to fight back against the military in accordance with Buddhist law.

The monks’ boycott committee was formed by some young monks during the Saffron Revolution protests in 2007 to oppose the Burmese military junta’s oppression of the people and monks in Burma.

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